According to ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, the Dallas Cowboys are interested in Bucs’ free agent Jason Pierre-Paul. The outside linebacker is recovering from surgery on a torn rotator cuff, but could be back for the start of the 2022 season. As expected, the Bucs have not made a strong move to re-sign Pierre-Paul at this time. Rookie Joe Tryon-Shoyinka outplayed the veteran last year, and is expected to start in 2022.
Pierre-Paul’s tenure with the Bucs has been nothing short of brilliant. Acquired in a trade by GM Jason Licht, Pierre-Paul spent his first three seasons in Tampa Bay returning to his early-career form. Over three seasons, Pierre-Paul picked up 30.5 sacks in just 42 games. He was just as good in run defense, piling up 32 tackles-for-loss.
But in 2022, the wheels came off for Pierre-Paul. He tore his rotator cuff and broke his finger early in the season. The finger healed, but Pierre-Paul played through the shoulder injury all year. As a result, he was shockingly ineffective with just 2.5 sacks. In fact, the 33-year old increasingly lost playing time to Tryon-Shoyinka as the season went on.
When you combine Pierre-Paul’s recent injuries with his extensive injury history, he’s a concerning signing. A team like the Cowboys could pick him up now, but any club interested in him would be wise to wait until the summer. Pierre-Paul’s body has been through hell, and declining skill has been evident the past two seasons. For cheap the Bucs might sign him later in the offseason. But it appears the 12-year pro may not remain available much longer.